Travel 102 km from the capital Hanoi, one will find Hai Phong – one of North Vietnam’s most beautiful yet strategically important port cities
“Hai” means ocean, and “Phong” means to defend. Hai Phong thus can be fierce, its oceans more than once fighting off invaders to protect Vietnam’s sovereignty. But this city with its temples and beaches can be magnificently elegant and rich at the same time. It is nicknamed “Flamboyant city” after the red flamboyant trees which grow abundantly around the city.
Hai Phong lies 102 km from Hanoi, on the very East of the Northern Vietnam coastline. The city is one of Vietnam’s major ports and industrial area. Conveniently situated at the crossroads of major sea routes, water ways, railways and highways, Hai Phong is a main traffic connection in North Vietnam.
Affected by monsoon winds, Hai Phong has a cold, dry winter from November to April and a hot, humid summer season from May to October. The average rain fall is from 1.600 to 1.800 mm, and storms tend to occur from June to September. Average humidity is 80 – 85%, average temperature is 20C to 23C. The temperature may vary from 40C in the summer to 5C in the winter months.
PLACES TO SEE
Do Son beach
Stretching 22km wide between two rivers Cam and Van Uc, Do Son with its soft white sand has always been an ideal beach destination. Besides the luscious natural beauty of its 3 beaches, Do Son also processes many cultural and historical artifacts.
Here, on top of Ngoc Son mountain are the remains of a 10 story tower made of clay and an ancient Buddhist temple (both built in the 11th century). The temple displays one of the most grandiose and significant Vietnamese Buddhist bells of the era. The bell was, for a few hundred years, submerged in the ocean after its fall during a large storm. It wasn’t until 1958 that local fishermen managed to re-discover the bell and bring it up to land. After nature’s harsh treatments, the bell (made of a large percentage of pure gold) still chimes near to perfection.
Buffalo fighting is a famous local tradition that has dated back hundreds of years. Tourists coming to Do Son on the 9th of the 8th month yearly (according to the lunar calendar) can witness the final rounds of this much anticipated festive event at the town stadium.
Those keen on history may chose to visit the “No-Number Port” where ships without license numbers from North Vietnam started their journey on the Ho Chi Minh sea route to bring aid to the North Vietnam army during the war. Another historical destination is the newly restored Bao Dai mansion, where Vietnam’s last king spent many summer holidays and served important guests.
Do Son also boasts a grand casino that promises to bring fun and entertainment to all who remember to bring their passport upon entry.
Cat Ba Island
Cat Ba is the largest out of the nearly 2000 islands surrounding the Halong bay area. Cat ba possesses 17.300ha of tropical forest, 570 of which is primeval. Under the green canopy is a diverse ecosystem, with hundreds of valuable medicinal herbs and trees. Cat Ba is also home to the endangered Komodo iguana, which can way up to 100kg. Tourists visiting Cat Ba have plenty of choices between the island’s tropical beaches, caves and the Cat Ba National Park.
Quán hoa (Flower market)
Designed in 1941 by the French, Quan Hoa is a complex of small flower stalls and boutiques designed to combine Western and Oriental standards of beauty. This bustling yet elegant flower marker has become inspirations for many artists and photographers.
Den Nghe (Nghe temple)
The temple worships the female general Le Chan, who is considered the founder of Hai Phong city. The temple is unique because it has a bed and musical stone carved from completely stone, with intricate dragon decorations.
SPECIAL TRAVEL DEALS
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- Essential Vietnam Tour (8D)
- Highlights of Vietnam Tour (11D)
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